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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm relatively new to mountain biking and recently started getting into repairing/modding/making costly mistakes on bikes.

I recently installed an old-new fork on a bike.

Being the unorganized noob that I am, I was not aware that you're not supposed to rest the fork dropouts on the ground while installing the star nut.
Nonetheless, the star nut was installed successfully as was the crown race and the headset went together nicely.

Then came time to put the wheel back on and that's when I noticed the first issue; it didn't go in...
Curious, I took out a tape measure and measured both the dropouts and QR axle and confirmed that they are both in fact 9mm.
Temporarily satisfied, I came to the conclusion that, perhaps, the paint was too thick? After which I took a file and filed away perhaps a third of a milimetre from both dropouts, careful to file away equally on both. Then the wheel slid into place and I went about my day.

Later on I did online research through which I learned how aluminum hates being bent and can crack once deformed etc. etc. This, understandably I hope, made me anxious about the fork, especially since dropouts are such a high stress point.

So I have a few questions:

1. Did forks from the era (mid to late 90s) have slightly smaller dropouts?
2. Is paint inside the dropouts being too thick and requiring filing a common occurrence on suspension forks?
3. Should the dropouts in fact be larger than 9mm and do you believe I have potentially deformed the aluminum dropouts?
4. It being a suspension fork, could enough force even travel from the top of the steerer tube from hammering, to lead to dropouts being bent? It did not bottom out during the process.
5. Would dropouts bent by, lets say, 0.5mm, be enough to deem the fork unsafe?

Thanks for taking your time <3
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